New report outlines strategies to improve primary care in Medicaid

The trade association that represents nonprofit safety net health plans released a new report Tuesday on strategies to improve primary care in Medicaid.

The paper, released by the Association for Community Affiliated Plans, outlines efforts to increase access to primary care, encourage coordination and team-based care, and reward effective primary care. One of the stated goals of healthcare reform has been to transform the U.S. healthcare system to reward quality over quantity of care, and primary care is seen as vital to that effort.

"The strategies outlined in this report show that Medicaid-focused health plans are leading the way in transforming the delivery of primary care," said Deborah Kilstein, ACAP’s director of quality management and operational support. "While there is much discussion about new models for delivering health care, this paper helps take a concept and show how health plans are already working hard to undertake innovative new approaches." 

Among the examples provided:

• Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island is working with local community health centers to encourage more multi-disciplinary care, provide same-day, 24-hour access, use more sophisticated information technology, and foster patient self-management;

• Contra Costa Health Plan of California uses five case-management programs, tailored for different populations and health needs, to enhance the coordination of patient care and address related social needs;

• CareSource in Ohio has developed a system for sharing electronic health records to improve the quality of care by reducing duplicate services and medical errors while improving the tracking of the use of prescription drugs. CareSource also uses financial incentives to encourage better patient engagement.